U.S. space agency NASA has chosen three potential landing sites for its upcoming Mars 2020 mission, which aims to find evidence of alien life on the Red Planet.
The three potential landing sites for the Mars rover include an ancient lake, an early hot-spring site and a former volcanic hotbed. Scientists selected the three sites at a workshop held from Feb. 8-10 in Monrovia, California, from 8 sites proposed in 2015.
The Jezero crater site, an ancient lake as big as Lake Tahoe, received the maximum number of votes. In ancient times, it was linked to a big river that fed it water and sediments.
Northeast Syrtis received the second biggest number of votes. Scientists believe that it once had hot water circulating under its crust. Scientists also chose Columbia Hills as a potential landing site. However, many believe that a Mars rover won’t be able to shed light on whether this site ever supported any type of life.
The final site will like be determination after a fourth workshop scheduled to take place in 2018, or perhaps at a fifth workshop, in 2019.
NASA has plans to launch its planned Mars 2020 rover aboard an Atlas V 541 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 41 in Florida in July 2020.